By Juliet Ebirim
Saying goodbye is never easy, more so for the icons and celebrities that fans have grown to love. In 2020 we said goodbye to various public figures from the world of stage, screen, sport, music and more. This article, while not exhaustive, takes a look at Nigerian celebrities who did not survive 2020.
Legendary reggae superstar Majekodunmi Fasheke, popularly known as Majek Fashek, died in his sleep on June 1, 2020 in New York City. He was 57 years old and battling esophageal cancer.
Recognized for hits like “Send Down the Rain” and “So Long for Too Long”, tributes came from around the world to the iconic singer who had contributed greatly to the nation’s music scene.
Also known as “The Rainmaker”, Majek Fashek was an activist who fought against the evils of society through his songs, including “Prisoner of Conscience”, his 1988 album.
Veteran trumpeter and musician of the high life, Victor Olaiya’s music ruled the lips and hearts of many in the 1950s and ’60s.
Often known as the “evil genius of high life”, or Dr. Victor Abimbola Olaiya OOON, the singer of “Taxi Driver” and “Baby Mi Da” died in February 2020 after an undisclosed illness while entering the Lagos University Hospital (LUTH) at the age of 89.
Olaiya is often credited with contributing to the fabric of Nigeria’s music industry, having become one of the country’s first blockbuster artists during the 1960s within the genre.
Former beauty queen Ibidunni Ighodalo died of cardiac arrest on June 14, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, about a month before her 40th birthday.
Ibidunni, founder of Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation and CEO of Elizabeth R. Events had previously made a moving video clip of her saying goodbye to her husband, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo of Trinity House Church, before embarking on her trip to Portharcourt from Lagos.
Ighodalo was also a successful event organizer whose Elizabeth R outfit had big brands on her clientele. His foundation has helped couples have children through IVF
The news of his death sparked a lot of reactions on social media as he became the number one trending topic on Twitter Nigeria.
The veteran media personality passed away on June 17 after suffering complications from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus. His death shocked the media and entertainment industry and those who knew him personally.
Foster worked with numerous radio stations in the United States before moving to Nigeria in 2000, where he joined Cool FM.
Foster left Cool FM in September 2009 for Inspiration FM, but left it in 2014 to join City FM. In May 2016, Dan Foster left City FM 105.1 to join radio station Classic FM 97.3, where he worked until his death in June 2020.
Foster was a judge on the unique series Idols West Africa, along with Nigerian Dede Mabiaku and Ghanaian Abrewa Nana. He was also a judge on Nigeria’s Got Talent alongside actress Kate Henshaw and comedian Yibo Koko.
Kayode Odumosu, popularly known as Pa Kasumu, was a fan favorite in Yoruba movies, known for dazzling moviegoers with his signatory voice and wealth of vocabulary.
But his career suffered a setback when he began battling heart failure. He finally lost the fight to prolonged illness at age 66 on March 1, 2020.
Until his death, he appeared in several successful Yoruba films.
The actress Emilia Dike’s is known for films such as “Ignorant couples”, “Dust from yesterday”, “Where money never sleeps”, among others.
Sadly, on May 20, 2020, Okechukwu Oku, a film director, announced his death. The movie star is said to have passed away after he collapsed in Enugu. His death was a great blow to family and friends.
On February 19, 2020, Frank Dallas, actor and production manager, died in his hotel room in Umuahia, Abia State, where he was attending a summit.
Popularly known as “Adedibu” or “Killer” in film circles, Dallas, a native of Ohafia in Abia State, was the former public relations officer for the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Lagos chapter.
After his death, the national president of AGN, Mr. Emeja Rollas, declared three days of mourning and prayers in honor of the late actor.
In a statement signed by the Guild’s PRO, Monalisa Chinda-Coker, the president canceled all official activities of the Guild at all levels for three days.
Veteran filmmaker Chico Ejiro died in the early hours of Christmas Day from a seizure. He had just finished directing his new movie on Christmas Eve. Born Chico Maziakpono in Isoko, Delta State, Ejiro is a film director, screenwriter and producer. Before his death, he held the record for the Nollywood director with the most movies released. He had produced and directed more than 85 films in his career in the span of three decades. The filmmaker is the younger brother of veteran filmmaker Zeb Ejiro.
Music producer, rapper, and singer, Lotanna Udezue, also known as BigLo, died after a long battle with kidney disease. BigLo reportedly died on the night of Saturday, December 26, 2020. Singer Jazzman Olofin announced his death on Instagram.
Biglo rose to fame in 2004 with the hit song “Delicious” which featured 2shotz. Recall that in 2019, the rapper revealed that he suffered from a kidney ailment. He made it known through his Gofundme page, where he revealed that he was diagnosed with kidney failure in July 2018.